Poetry and Life

Poetry and Life – Two wonderful topics!

Today I decided to grab a cup of coffee and take the Sunday paper and read it in my bed.  This is a huge treat for me.  I love my bed.  It is new and has white crisp linens and a very special quilt from my Grandmother Hallie folded at the end. I only spend time to sleep in my bed usually.  Those hours have slowly become 9:30pm to 5:30am.

So at 8:30 on a Sunday morning snuggling back in under my quilt is a treat like Christmas morning to me.  Now, we still have the newspaper delivered in our driveway.  Yes, it is rolled up put in a plastic bag and thrown from a car by a human every morning around 6:00am.

I describe this at length because I know we are one of a dying breed.  Yes, it is bad for the environment to have a huge pile of papers to recycle every week, it does sort of pad the wine bottles as we push the trash down the driveway.  It is wasteful and fills the recycling bin.  I do use the plastic bags for my doggy business receptacles.

But I am convinced my time holding the paper, reading the paper and cherishing the information adds true value to my life.

I must add it is a constant budget discussion with my husband.  He is convinced it is one more small monthly charge we could eliminate.  Having computers should make our lives able to read all papers at the touch of a button.

I stand my ground and explain – it keeps us aware of what is happening and gives our eyes a break from the computer screen.  It inspires me in ways I have no idea and brings topics into my life that are moving.  And today was one of those days!

The sad story of an old Austin restaurant closing after 30 years of business.  The back story of the owner and her journey of owning the special restaurant and what it did for Austin over the years.  And below that article a beautiful photo of a poet speaking at a Women’s Conference.  Mary Oliver, a famous poet.  She died at age 83.  Maggie Smith wrote a beautiful article celebrating the poetry and life of Mary.  Maggie writes for the Washington Post and she grew up in Ohio, just like Mary did.  Mary Oliver won a Pulitzer Prize for her poetry in 1984.  Well, all of this is so interesting to me.

In 1984 I was not paying attention to poetry or Mary Oliver.  I was a coed at Florida State University hanging out with my sorority sisters and worried about what aerobics class we would attend each day. I had no clue who was winning the Pulitzer Prize that year.

And today, I care.  I adore that all of this was dropped in my driveway.  It is truly a gift.  The quilt from my grandmother I would have ignored in 1984 and now I cherish it!  These words in the paper – I cherish.  The article closes with a quote that will keep me pondering all day, maybe all week.  I want to share this with you.  The most famous, most shared Mary Oliver quote from her poem “The Summer Day.”

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your wild and precious life?”

Poetry is powerful.  This one line is a question I want to ask my children, my friends and myself.  Over and over.

Thank you Mary for sharing your words and your wonderful life!


You Are Enough

“It is, we are, already enough.” - Kristin Armstrong, Tribeza
How can 6 words, 2 commas and 1 period say it all?  Well, Kristin Armstrong did it in her article titled, “Already Enough” for the December edition of Tribeza.
It is a local rag here in Austin. It has been around since Austin was Austin, not this millennial, expensive, Instagram happy, bachelorette party destination that we have morphed into. 
DO NOT get me started.
In my efforts to preserve the Austin that I know and love, my husband and I packed up our 3600 sq. ft. house in the suburbs – best school district they have claimed for decades – and SOLD IT!
We got rid of all the stuff and moved to a 1967, one story with 1455 sq.ft.
It is a neighborhood where people drive old cars. People here let the leaves blow from the trees to the yard and into the street. 
Real people live here.
Some have kids, some rent, some built their house in 1967 and are still living in it. But most of all, Bob and I feel like we are home. We do simple naturally.
We like to keep our cars until they are paid off and the odometer hits 6 digits. We are happy that everyone here is different. People are not bragging about their second homes, ski vacations or what Ivy League their perfect child is attending. People here are just being who they are – doing what they do.
Bragging is not part of the casual neighbor conversation. Again – this feels good.
We didn’t know if moving 6.6 miles away and changing our zip code would work for us. All we knew was that the zip code we moved in to in 1992 had changed and we had not. So, I repeat – we just did it!
We went from 78746 to 78745. We only changed one number and moved less than 7 miles further south. And with it, we found our home.
Okay, the stove does not turn on, it needs a match, the oven sets off the smoke alarms every time we use it, the refrigerator is in the laundry room and you must walk thru the garage to get there. And all of this is right back to those simple 6 words, 2 commas and 1 period.
It is, we are, already enough.
I don’t know how to explain this. I know a fancy house with a lot of extra room is what we are supposed to want to appear successful. I know your garage is not supposed to have wood paneling. I know you are supposed to push a button so your garage door opens automatically.  Well, none of that is true for me.
None of that made my heart feel full or real or true. I sit here in 2019 and wonder what else is not true? What else is really blocking my heart from being happy and peaceful? What else is taking up space that is not needed in my life?
We get stuck, we believe things are true that are not. We get caught up in images that are not our own. This year is a New Year and this year I will borrow Kristin’s words. 
Only 6 words –
It is, we are, already enough.
Next time I see her in yoga I will thank her or for this amazing gift.
Good luck in 2019!
You are ENOUGH!